The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development set ambitious health-related targets to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages and strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development.
"If you look back at the history of drug discovery over the past hundred years or so, it is apparent that almost no medicine, vaccine or diagnostic test has ever been discovered or developed, tested, perfected and brought to market by a single institution. Each and every one has come about as a result of collaboration among multiple actors."
Dr Hayato Urabe
Attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including the health related targets such as universal health coverage (UHC), ending the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases, as well as effectively tackling the threat of emerging infectious zoonotic diseases, require substantial policy coherence, and the scaling up of partnerships and investment.
While many global efforts have focused on increasing research and development for new health innovations, it is now clear that there must also be a corresponding emphasis on strengthening of system-wide capacities to deliver the range of needed health services and products within countries.
The Ebola outbreak in west Africa was an important reminder of the importance of effective, and sustained, core government functions within and beyond the health sector.
Health challenges are becoming both more complex and broader, as emerging infections, antimicrobial resistance, humanitarian crises, environmental health impacts and the movement of people continue to increase. These collective challenges highlight the need for coordination between an ever-growing range of actors, as well as stronger partnerships between public, private and community actors at the local, national and global levels.
We have a long way to go to overcome these challenges: The 2017 UHC tracking report1 shows that half of the world’s population still does not have access to essential health services.
While improved coordination and partnership are clearly vital, it is important to acknowledge that inadequate health system performance is, at least in part, a direct consequence of deep-rooted incoherence: The common failure to achieve a shared vision, responsibility and accountability, because of an isolated focus on the health sector.